I am working on a new sequence of sonnets, called Parable and Paradox, responding to the sayings of Jesus, and I have come to the end of Matthew’s Gospel and the last words of Jesus to his disciples as he sends them out to the four corners of the earth to make disciples of every nation
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matt 28:20)
It seemed to me that these final words actually linked back to and fulfilled the promise that was given in the Naming of Jesus, that he should be called ‘Emmanuel’, God with us, and that was the starting point of this sonnet.
Your final words fulfill your ancient name,
A promise hidden in Emmanuel,
A promise that can never fade or fail:
I will be with you till the end of time;
I will be with you when you scale the height
And with you when you fall to earth again,
With you when you flourish in the light,
And with you through the shadow and the pain.
Our God with us, you leave and yet remain
Risen and hidden with us everywhere;
Hidden and flowing in the wine we share,
Broken and hidden in the growing grain.
Be with us till we know we are forgiven
Be with us here till we’re with you in heaven.